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Unsure of how to break the reinforcing pain cycle

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Guava, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Guava

    Guava Peer Supporter


    I was reading the Alan Gordon program today, and there was a point I was unsure of so I thought i'd ask.

    For me sitting is definately a reinforcing element of the pain cycle for me. I'm still scared of sitting for long or even short periods a lot of the time, and even though i've tried to make some progress, i generally still avoid sitting for long periods or where I deem it unneccesary.

    The conditioned response is an example that is often used to explain this cycle. E.g I've read many examples with animals. e.g skinner and the dogs, conditioned to salivating with the bell (when it is learned that this is associated with the food coming), and others e.g the rat who is given tasty food pellets when using the wheel, which makes the rat become conditioned to go on the wheel more to get these. In these circumstances of conditioning I can see a way to break out of it, so with the dogs the food is a key factor and that can be taken out of the equation and eventually lead to the dog stopping salivating after a given period. Same scenario with the rat, the food can be taken away and rat will eventually stop after a period of increased use of the wheel to try and get the food again.

    I don't see a factor that can be essentially removed in my case to enable deconditioning. I can't control that the pain won't come on anymore when I sit like in an experiment (even if I am not fearful of it, it still may come. And yes I can understand that the times where it doesn't come or not much- some may say this is useful in deconditioning process, but from what i have learned from reading this wouldn't be the case- it would make it even harder to decondition yourself, as now the pattern has become random e.g if a dog is given treats at a table randomly it will be much harder to stop it begging for treats by deciding to eliminate giving treats to it completely). If a rat was being electrocuted causing pain whenever he was placed on a rat chair lets say, it will become conditioned to not go there. But to decondition it the electocution element, hence pain can be removed allowing the pain cycle to be broken.

    Sorry for long post. Just a bit confused :S
  2. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Guave, I don't know if this will help you, but I believe I was conditioned when it came to walking for pleasure. I was able to do chores, run errands, but the moment I took a step in the direction of a fun walk, it was like my mind knew, and gave me pain.

    In March, I decided to start deconditioning myself (although I'm not sure I knew that that was what I was doing at the time) by taking very very short walks even through the pain. I would walk for five minutes and simply tell myself the pain was TMS, it was fake pain. After about a week I decided I was ready to move up to ten minutes. Every week after that I moved my walk up by five minutes until now I am walking 40 minutes a day. I still have pain, but not as much, and it doesn't bother me as much.

    This is a very slow process and may not be right for everyone. But maybe it's something you can try with sitting.

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